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Does Back to School Mean a Jacket and Slacks?

  • August 01, 2021

Navigating this landscape while also navigating school can be complicated, which may be why a surprising number of blogs and YouTube tutorials have sprung up with advice from med school students about what to wear. They are kind of fun and worth checking out, as much for your own education as your son’s.

That said, medicine can still be a surprisingly formal discipline, in part because of the need for practitioners to convey a sense of authority. Whether we like it or not, most of us still associate authority with a traditional uniform of shirt, jacket and so on. Once your son starts his clinical studies, he’s going to need a wardrobe heavier on business casual than simply casual. Indeed, Stanford School of Medicine offers “Dress Code Rules for the Clinical Setting” that include button-down shirts, khakis and a ban on jeans.

There’s nothing wrong with planning in advance (and as a parent, it’s always good to prepare a child, even a grown one, for what is to come). To that end, Guy Trebay, our men’s wear critic, advises nudging your son in the directions of brands like Quaker Marine Supply, Faherty and Alex Mill for trousers; and Todd Snyder for tweaked American classics if you want to splurge. (These are pricey but investment worthy).

Then let your son dissect the import of his choices on his own.

Every week on Open Thread, Vanessa will answer a reader’s fashion-related question, which you can send to her anytime via email or Twitter. Questions are edited and condensed.

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